Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways to Connect

Scott Willis / WAER News

In somewhat of a surprise move, Syracuse Common Councilors Monday unanimously appointed a candidate whose name had not been publicly mentioned to fill President Helen Hudson’s former at-large seat.   Democrat Michael Greene’s resume rose to the top of the stack.

New 5th district councilor Joe Driscoll made the motion to appoint Greene after discussions revealed he’d have strong support.

file photo / WAER News

The first of a series of federal corruption trials begins Monday for several former associates of Governor Cuomo. The proceedings in the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan will focus on bribery and other charges against Governor Cuomo’s former closest aide, Joseph Percoco.

Scott Willis / WAER News

The Workers’ Center of Central New York and other plaintiffs say they’re planning to appeal a decision on a case that challenged the state’s collective bargaining law to include farmworkers.  A judge in Albany dismissed the case filed by the NYCLU on behalf of a dairy farm worker who was fired for trying to organize.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A Syracuse resident who’s been politically active behind the scenes for decades has decided it’s her turn to enter the fray as a candidate.   Rachel May is seeking the democratic nomination for the 53rd district senate seat held by Dave Valesky.   She wants to make a few things clear:

"I am a mother, an educator, a concerned citizen, and a democrat," she declared.

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

A report by Governor Cuomo’s tax department lists ways that New Yorkers could get around the loss of some of their state and local tax deductions under the new law.  But all of them come with complications.

When the federal tax overhaul law was signed by President Trump last December, Americans lost their ability to deduct much of their state and local taxes from their federal tax forms. As Governor Cuomo has said repeatedly, the loss of what’s known as the SALT deductions harms taxpayers the most in relatively high tax states like New York.

assembly.state.ny.us

A state lawmaker from Cayuga County says there’s one big omission in Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal that could help erase some of the state’s red ink:

"It should be quite apparent there's another way of raising revenue.  It's called cutting spending.   The addition of new programs he's proposed..we have to raise revenue to cover it at a time he claims we have a huge deficit."

Governor Cuomo's flickr page

Governor Cuomo released a $168 billion budget proposal Tuesday that he says is more of an economic transformation plan aimed at ensuring the state’s viability in light of the federal tax law.  He followed through on an idea presented in his state of the state address to restructure New York’s tax code.  Cuomo says instead of taxing income received by employees, the state would tax wages paid by employers to counter the loss of income deductibility.

With another winter storm bearing down on Central New York, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced a plan Friday to ensure timely snow removal from city-owned sidewalks and to urge residents to follow ordinances requiring them to do the same. 

The Mayor says he and leaders of the city are committed to:

file photo

Congressmember John Katko and other members of a bi-partisan coalition in the house appear to be making progress on an infrastructure plan.  Transportation officials in Central New York welcome the additional attention…and investment.

When the federal highway system was built more than 50 years ago, it was a top national priority.  Since then, though, it’s probably safe to say maintenance hasn’t seen that same level of attention. 

"We do a lot with the little that we have in terms of funding, and we could certainly used more."

Onondaga County Health Department

As the heroin epidemic continues unabated, a paramedic who’s responded to drug overdoses for decades says it’s time to lift the stigma of addiction.  In this final part in our series, he says thinking differently might get more people the help they need…and save lives.

Director of Operations for TLC ambulance Lon Fricano says the more we talk about addiction and bring it out of the shadows, the stronger prevention and treatment efforts can be. 

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